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Agro-forestry in Gujarat

an economic opportunity
environment enhancement
Initiative and progress of Social Forestry
In Gujarat, forest cover is relatively low but tree cover-Trees
Out-side Forest (TOF) is the second highest amongst the
major Indian states. The fact that further allocation of land
towards forestry purpose is almost impossible, leaves only
one alternative for increasing the tree cover and augmenting
the supply of forest produce, and that of organizing and
motivating people, and with their help, planting tree in the Tree cover in Gandhinagar city
low productivity wastelands and farmlands. Accordingly, the
government of Gujarat adopted a new approach more than
four decades ago, and in 1969-70, Social Forestry was born as a
Peoples Programme for planting trees outside the forest lands.
Social forestry divisions, first in the country, were established
in the State. With this initiative, the State became the pioneer
in social forestry in the world.
The results of initiative of the Social Forestry were encouraging
and were appreciated by the international community.
Subsequently, the World Bank and the Japanese Bank for
International Cooperation (JBIC) supported social forestry Land under tree canopy for cultivation in Dangs
projects during the four decades. Till the year 2010, a total
of 234, 200 ha of public lands were afforested. Farm land
plantation at the cost of the Government was started in
1970s on a small scale which was scaled up in the late 1980s.
During the last two decades, agro-forestry was a focused
programme. Till the year 2010, a total of 238,750 ha area of
private lands have been planted by the Government. Besides
this, a total of 4810.1million seedlings, including herbal
plants and ornamental shrubs, have been distributed among
farmers, individuals and institutions during the last four
Jamun plantation on boundry of farm land
Status of the TOF
The result of social forestry in arid region of Gujarat is impressive.
The various reports indicate consistent improvement in the TOF
in Gujarat. Status of the TOF, including agro-forestry plantations,
was monitored through tree countings. Total number of trees in
the non forest areas in 2003 was 251.0 million which increased
to 268.7 million in 2009. Thus, tree population has increased at
an annual rate of 2.9 million trees.
Of the total TOF, about 71.3% were on private lands - farmland
Farm forestry - Teak plantation and orchards (agro-forestry). Seven districts - Anand, Tapi,
Gandhinagar, Mahesana Valsad, Surat and Kheda have tree
densities over 30 trees/ha. These districts are either in high
rainfall areas or have substantial areas under irrigation. Neem
with its large numbers is practically the state tree and its
population (29.78 million) is the highest amongst the large to
medium size trees. Although a total of over 405 tree species have
been recorded in the forest and non-forest areas in Gujarat, only
about a dozen species are preferred for growing by the people
on their own lands.
Tree cover in the non forest area was 7,837 sq. km. in 2011 and,
Canal bank plantation - Anand district
which is the second largest after Maharashtra. Also, average
density of the TOF in Gujarat is the second highest after Kerala
among the Indian states and Union Territories. Although a major
part of Gujarat is in semi-arid and arid region, the tree density
is relatively high. The growing stock of the TOF in Gujarat is
118.0 million cubic meter against only 48.3 million cubic meter
in the forest areas in the state, indicating the importance of tree
resource availability outside the forest lands. Also, Carbon store
in trees outside forest is much more than the Carbon stored in
the forest cover in the state.
Block farm land plantation of Ailanthus sp.
Agro-forestry species
At present, nine species - Neem (Azadirachta indica), Deshi
babool (Acacia nilotica), Nilgiri (Eucalyptus sp.),Sharu (Casuarina
sp.), Ardusa (Ailanthus sp.), Teak (Tectona grandis), Subabool
(Leucanea leucocephola), Bengali babool (Acacia auriculiformis)
and Bamboo are dominant and they are economic species
in agro-forestry plantations. Eight exotic species - Prosopis
chilensis, Eucalyptus sp., A. tortalis, Casuarina equisetifolia,
Leucanea leucocephala, Pithocolobium dulce, Ailanthus excelsa
and Acacia auriculiformis, which were absent or rarely seen five
decades ago, are now dominant species, constituting over one
Ailanthus plant from seeds Bamboo with long
third of total TOF in the State. In other words, these exotic species of Plus Tree inter-nodal distance
have changed the landscape of the state and also improved the
wood production and economy of the state.
Neem, deshi babool and ardusa are the three main tree species
in the agro-forestry plantations in north Gujarat. With supply of
good quality seedlings, ardusa has become a lead species due
to its increasing demand in packing and plywood industries.
In central Gujarat, Eucalyptus sp. along with Deshi babool and
Neem is the main species in commercial plantations of agro-
forestry. Plantation of sharu and Bengali babool is increasing
in the high rainfall areas of south Gujarat, although teak, khair
and bamboo are also preferred by the farmers. Saurashtra and
Kachchh have relatively less agro-forestry plantations due to
adverse climate and soil conditions. Sharu, neem, sitafal are
preferred by the farmers in this region. Vegetable cultivation under Eucalyptus plantation

Among the fruit species, Mango (Mangifera indica), Drum stick

or Sargavo (Moringa oleifera), Sitafal or Custard apple (Annona
squamosal), Aonla or Indian goose berry (Embilca officinalis),
Bordi (Zizyphussp.), Jamun (Syzygium cumini), Nariyali (Cocos
nucefera), Chikoo (Acrus sapota), and Guava or Jamfal (Psidium
guajav) are important tree species raised by the farmers. Plantation of tissue culture plant of teak in a farm land
The agro-forestry schemes and incentives
The following schemes are implemented to promote agro-
forestry in the state.
(i) Quality planting stock (clonal and tissue cultureplants):
Gujarat Forest Department has taken initiatives in 2010 to
establish high quality seedlings production centres at over a
dozen sites to increase productivity and yield of wood in agro-
forestry. A tissue culture lab for production of teak seedlings has
About a dozen Eucalyptus clonal plant production centres been established at Gandhinagar. About ten centres for clonal
have capacity to produce about 9 million plants Ecucalyptus and three sites for conal Casuarina plant production
have become operational in 2011 and the capacity of these
centres is to produce about 10 million clonal plants for agro-
forestry, which are supplied to farmers at concessional rates.

Clonal Eucalyptus plantation

Three clonal plant production centres of Casuarina sp. have been established
in 2011 in south Gujarat to produce and supply the plants to farmers

Clonal Eucalyptus plantation Ailanthus plants from seeds of plus trees (Mehsana district)
(ii) Supply of seedlings: About 90 million seedlings were
supplied annually at nominal charges under Van Mahotsav
programme, and about half of them were planted by the farmers
on their lands and the rest was distributed among industries,
institutions, cooperatives, schools, individuals and other such
(iii) Rehabilitation of degraded farm land: Forest Department Tissue culture (Teak) plant production in a lab at Gandhinagar
supports small and marginal farmers to take up plantation on
their lands, especially degraded lands. During the last decade,
on an average, about 9,500 ha of the farm lands are planted
every year at the cost of the Government. In addition to the cost
of plantation, assistance is also provided for three years as a part
of subsidy.
(iv) Farm forestry in Dangs: A scheme to raise teak plantation on
tribals land was implemented in the Dangs district. This scheme
has been modified in 2012. Under this scheme, tree crop will be
raised on the tribals land at the cost of the Government and a
provision for adequate assistance every month has been kept
for the farmer for twenty years. Objective of the scheme is to Tissue culture plantation of teak-people prefer to plant tissue culture
restore tree cover on the private lands. teak plant in South Gujarat and in irrigated land in other districts

(v) Farm forestry under MNAREGA: A new scheme of raising 400

trees per hectare on farm land using MNAREGA fund has been
initiated in 2011. Subsequently, this scheme has been accepted
by the Government of India as a part of individual beneficiary
scheme under MNAREGA. About 11,000 ha is proposed under
this scheme in 2012 which may be scaled up subsequently to
over 20,000 ha/year.
(vi) Farm forestry extension activities: Farmer camps (shibirs)
to transfer technology and also to promote farm forestry have
been organised in every district. Annually, about 750 farmer
camps are conducted in the state. Neem tree on farm land
Replication of Anand modal of tree farming
Anand, a non forest district in central Gujarat has good canal
irrigation, which has turned it into one of the greenest districts
in India with highest density of trees in the non forest areas. In
this district, the land and water are used in such a fashion that
Majority of farm land in Anand has trees with all age classes along productivity is optimise in all three sectors-agriculture, animal
boundaries. The mature trees are cut as per economic need of
the farmer, providing space for young trees/saplings husbandry and agro-forestry. As per the recent tree counting,
about 20.12 million trees grow with highest density of 68.4 trees
per hectare which is four times the average tree density in the
entire state. A good number of trees are cut annually to produce
substantial wood, beyond the local need. Earning from agro-
forestry has become one of the main economic activities for
farmers in the district. Anand is also famous for Non Timber Forest
Produce as huge quantity of Aonla is exported to other states
in India. Tree density is improving fast after commencement of
Narmada canal in Nadiad, and in a few years, tree cover in Nadiad
may be similar to Anand. Extent of tree cover in Mahesana and
Gandhinagar in semi-arid zone is also high and these districts are
Big farmers or absentee land owners prefer to grow block now wood surplus districts. Timber trade and export of wood
plantation due to non availability of labour for agriculture. to other states are excellent in Anand and Nadiad districts as
unique market system operates in the area. In fact, this district
is a model district in sense of true rural development, including
agro-forestry. A large scale timber based industries in Nadiad
and Anand are integrated with timber production in the area.
The state has aimed to replicate Anand model in about a dozen
districts in Gujarat in Narmada Command Area.

Anand District
Number of trees 201.2 lacs
Number of trees annually harvested above 10.7 lacs

Farmers transporting timber to saw-mill in Kheda district

Annual timber production 2.4 lacs m3
Economic and environmental contribution of TOF
The TOF in Gujarat State, primarily agro-forestry trees, produce
about 3.1 million cubic meters of small, medium and large
timber and over 15 million tonnes of fuel wood. Thus, social
forestry generates huge employment and makes a significant
contribution to the economy of the State. These figures provide
some idea about the quantity of timber, firewood, fodder,
NTFP, bio-fertilizers that might be used by the people every
year. With increasing environmental problems such as climate
Timber and pole market in Mehsana district
change, tree plantation and wood consumption are expected to
increase considerably in the near future. Agro-forestry provides
an opportunity to improve rural economy and environment.
Economic contribution of the TOF in the GDP of the state in form
of wood was about Rs 43,578 million in 2009 and this might
become very high when other produce from the TOF is added
to this figure. With increasing tree cover in agricultural land,
growing stock is expected to increase, resulting in increased
production of timber, poles, fuel wood, NTFP and also the Carbon
store in the TOF. Till date, the benefit of Carbon sequestration
has not been passed on to the farmers of Gujarat as proper Mahuda - Madhuca indica in private lands in Vadodara district
mechanism of the Carbon trading is yet to evolved.

Tree cover 7,837 sq. km.

Number of trees 269 million trees
Growing stock (TOF) 118 million cubic meter
Annual production from TOF
Timber 3.1 million cubic meter
Fuel wood over 15 million tones
Carbon store in the TOF about 87 million tones
Eucalyptus plantation
Legal support to facilitate agro-forestry
Cutting of exotic tree species like Eucalyptus sp., Casiuarina sp.,
Acacia auriculiformis etc are not covered under a law and the
farmers are free to cut these species. Five species -teak, chandan,
shisam, mahuda or mahua and kahir are reserved trees under
the Saurashtra Tree Felling Act, and cutting and transport of
timber and firewood of these species need permission. Felling of
other twenty two tree species are governed by Saurashtra Tree
Felling Act. However, the government has relaxed this provision
in some districts to facilitate agro-forestry and there is no need
Harvesting of poles from block plantations of permission to cut and transport these species. The proposal to
exclude other agro-forestry species from permission for cutting
and transport is under consideration.
Timber trade and marketing
There are 5,065 saw mills and 292 ply-wood and other such
timber based industries in Gujarat. Part of the imported timber
at Kandla is consumed in Gujarat and the rest is supplied to
other states, mostly the western part of India. The saw mills have
developed a network of marketing in the rural areas in several
districts in Gujarat where farmers get reasonable price. Majority
of saw mills in central and north Gujarat export sawn timber of
Neem and Deshi babool to South India and Rajasthan. In the
tribal belt, the farmers do not get fair price and they are normally
exploited by the timber traders. This matter was debated by the
Committee of the Member of Legislative Assembly to establish
timber market yard on the lines of agriculture market yard to
provide fair timber price to the farmers. This matter is under
consideration of the Government.
Gujarat imported about 3.29 million cubic meter of round timber
in 2010-11 at Kandla Port from abroad. Non-forest areas produce
Sawn timber in a saw mill about 3.1 million cubic meters of timber and over 0.20 million
cubic meter comes from other sources (forests and import from
other states). About half of the total timber is imported to other
Seed and seedling certification
Seed and seedling certification are important issue in social
forestry. The success of agro-forestry depends on quality of
seedlings and supply of package of agro-forestry models. There
is no procedure of seed certification in the state, although some
local practice has been applied, For example, there is practice of
Cultivation of wheat between the lines of Ailanthus plantation
collecting seeds of Ailanthus excelsa from Plus Trees. The state in Mehsana district. Behind the plantation are lopped trees of
has established a large number of clonal multiplication areas neem-a important fodder species in north Gujarat.
(CMA), seed production areas (SPA), clonal seed production
There is also a need of quality plant supply of
areas (CSO) and seed stands for collection of quality seeds.
fruit bearing species and medicinal plants to
The Forest Department has got International Organization for
the farmers. Major part of Saurashtra and
Standardization: ISO-9001 certificates for five nurseries as they Kachchh is not suitable for raising timber
meet certain standard of the seedling production. Quality of all plantation but plantation of fruit bearing
seedlings supplied to farmers does not meet standard. Although species and herbal plants may be integrated
some work has been done in this direction, it may not be with the agricultural practices to evolve an
adequate to advance agro-forestry. economically accepted model.

Need for developing agro-forestry practices for NTFP production

Agro-forestry in future their seed production stand; scaling up high quality seedling
production of teak, bamboo, Bengali babool, and sharu, and
Agro-forestry in Gujarat has been one of the most
also to develop superior clones of these species; supporting
successful greening programmes in the world. At
teak and bamboo plantations under farm forestry schemes
present, it needs new initiatives, innovation and
in Dangs, Navasari and Valsad districts in such a manner that
technological advancement to increase productivity
agro-forestry in these districts tuns into the main economic
of farm land plantations. The Forest Department
activity of the farmers, integrating cultivation of herbal plants
re-visited the schemes and has decided to provide
with agro-forestry systems to enhance economic returns to the
new momentum by supplying quality seedlings. With
farmers; developing new agro-forestry practices by integration
expansion of irrigation under Narmada canal systems,
tree plantation with agricultural and NTFP crops; developing
tree cover is expected to improve in the command
clones of indigenous fast growing species like semal and sevan
area. The Forest Department has planned to pay
for central and part of south Gujarat; raising trial of fast growing
attention in these areas for taking up different types
agro-forestry exotic species like Mahoghani to assess scope of
of plantation, including supply of quality seedlings to
its plantations in Gujarat; developing suitable agro-forestry
farmers. Replication of Anand and Kheda model in the
practices along with cultivation of NTFP for Saurashtra and
Narmada command area is a focussed programme of
Kachchh region and diversification of timber use and marketing
the Government.
facilities for farmers.
It is expected that improving tree cover in the
agro-forestry plantation in the State may accelerate As per the prevailing market requirement of the size of
in near future, taking tree population from about 269 timber by the saw mills and timber industries, period/
million to about 350 million in the next two five years rotation of harvesting trees as prefered by the farmers.
plan. Development of agro-forestry provides another
Species Rotation age
opportunity to the state to become global leader in
Clonal Eucalyptus sp. (for poles) 4 year
improving tree cover, initiating a new approach to
address global warming and also to evolve a model of Eucalyptus sp. from seed origin 6-8 years
rural development in the line of the dream of Mahatma Ailanthus sp. 8-12 years
Gandhi for Gramya Swaraj. Deshi babool 10-15 years
Casuarina sp. 8-12 years
Advancement of agro-forestry in Gujarat needs
strategies like developing clones of nine agro-forestry Bengali babool 10-12 years
species; collection of good quality seeds of neem and Neem 15-25 years
deshi babool-the two traditional agro-forestry species
for raising quality seedlings and also establishing
Farm boundary plantation with cultivation of Tobacco in Anand district

Content and Photographs : Dr. H. S. Singh, IFS, APCCF, Social Forestry, Gujarat State
under the guidance of Shri Pradeep Khanna, IFS, PCCF & Head of the Forest Force, Gujarat State.